The governor also wants lawmakers to tackle some other issues as well. The main focus is supposed to be on the budget but now she’s hoping lawmakers will look at police reform, tax changes, and election bills.
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Some of the proposals are in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is suggesting tax relief for people impacted by the pandemic as well as rethinking elections, authorizing county clerks to mail ballots to registered voters without requiring voters to fill out an application first.
Other bills have been spurred on by protests over police brutality. The governor wants lawmakers to look at requiring body cameras on all law enforcement officers and banning chokeholds.
She also wants lawmakers to consider rethinking “qualified immunity” which protects officers from being sued individually. All of these issues have lawmakers split over what they’ll be able to tackle in what’s supposed to be a short session.
“We can do more than one thing at a time. We can address the budget and also make more positive change to bring more justice and fairness to our society,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf.
“We’re only here for a couple of days, getting into police reform is always a heavy lift for this legislature,” said Sen. Greg Baca. “I think it just requires more time than what we’re going to have.”
As a result of the pandemic, the public is not allowed to go inside but people can still participate in public comment via email or remote communications. The session is expected to only last a couple of days.